SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Nasdaq:PEIX), the leading marketer and producer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States, reported its financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2012. Neil Koehler, the company's president and CEO, stated: "In 2012, we achieved the ambitious goals established earlier in the year. We reduced and improved terms on our plant debt, increased our ownership in the Pacific Ethanol plants at favorable valuations and continued to drive cost efficiencies at the plants. We are installing corn oil separation at two of the plants, which will diversify revenues and increase overall margins. In addition, both as a step toward qualifying for advanced biofuel and to take advantage of favorable pricing, we purchased sorghum as feedstock for producing ethanol from local, Midwest and international markets." "Although the challenging market environment proved both formidable and frustrating throughout 2012, our execution on these and other goals helped minimize the negative impact on Pacific Ethanol's financial results. Now in 2013, we are seeing improvement in production margins. Our primary goals this year are to continue to improve operating efficiencies, diversify our revenues and feedstocks, increase product values by further reducing the carbon intensity of our ethanol, and to return the company to profitability." Financial Results for the Three Months Ended December 31, 2012 Net sales were $197.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $241.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2011. The decline in net sales is attributable to both a reduction in total gallons sold and lower average price per gallon of ethanol sold. Total gallons sold were 102.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 116.3 million gallons in the fourth quarter of 2011. Average price per gallon of ethanol sold was $2.52 for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $2.80 in the fourth quarter of 2011.